Henry Carrington Lancaster papers
Scope and Contents
The collection spans the years 1913-1954 and includes correspondence, a scrapbook with book reviews and letters of congratulations to Lancaster, research notes outlining and analyzing the plays of 17th and 18th century French dramatists and the repertoire of the Comedie Francaise, drafts and typescripts, and galley proofs. A large part of the collection is in French.
The correspondence contains letters from Paris publisher Edouard Champion written between 1919 and 1921 relating to publication of "Le Memoire de Mahelot, Laurent et d'autres Decorateurs de l'Hotel de Bourgogne et de la Comedie-Francaise au XVII Siecle," edited by Henry Carrington Lancaster. Also of interest are letters from William Churchill dated 1913-1914 with reference to Lancaster's critical and biographical study of Pierre Du Ryer. Reviews of the latter work accompany the letters.
The scrapbook contains book reviews of "Le Memoire de Mahelot..." This memoir consists of accounts written by the scene painters of the Hotel de Bourgogne and later of the Comedie Francaise between the years 1633-1686. These notes list the titles of 268 plays and the decorations and costumes needed for the plays. There are reproduced the designs for 47 scenes which show the setting of plays by Du Ryer, Rotrou, Gombould, Scudery, Bois-Robert, Mairet and other. In addition to the book reviews, the scrapbook also contains letters of congratulation to Lancaster from the following: Gilbert Chinard, Gustave Cohen, Jacques Copeau, Xavier de Courville, E.P. Dargan, Emile Henriot, Jean Jules Jusserand, Brander Matthews, William A. Nitze, H. Prunieres, G. Reynier, Gustav von Roosbroek, Albert Sching.
The research notes are in Lancaster's handwriting, in a mixture of French and English, and consist of outlines and analyses of 17th and 18th century plays with biographical details on many of the dramatists. There is one folder of notes on plays with on authors indicated. The rest of the notes are arranged by playwright in alphabetical order. There are also extensive research notes on the Comedie-Francaise Registre and Repertoire.
Of Lancaster's writings there are drafts, typescripts, and galleys of the following: "Actors's Roles at the Comedie-Francaise, according to Repertoire des comedies francoises qui se peuuent jouer en 1685;" "French Tragedy in the Reign of Louis XVI and the Early Years of the French Revolution;" "Rienzi" par Joseph Francois Laignelot (edited by Henry Carrington Lancaster); "Silvie," attributed to Paul Landois (edited by Henry Carrington Lancaster).
- Creation: 1919-1953
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is housed off-site and requires 48-hours' notice for retrieval. Please contact Special Collections for more information.
Collection is open for use.
Conditions Governing Use
Single copies may be made for research purposes. Researchers are responsible for determining any copyright questions. It is not necessary to seek our permission as the owner of the physical work to publish or otherwise use public domain materials that we have made available for use, unless Johns Hopkins University holds the copyright.
Henry Carrington Lancaster, scholar and educator in the fields of French literature and history, was born in 1883 in Richmond, Va., the son of financier Robert Alexander Lancaster and Williamine Campbell Carrington Lancaster. Professor Lancaster attended private schools in Richmond before entering the University of Virginia where he was graduated with both B.A. and M.A. degrees in 1903. He spent a year in Montgomery, Alabama before coming to Baltimore to begin studies at Johns Hopkins University for his doctorate, which he took in 1907. He then joined the faculty of Amherst College as Professor of French Literature and Chairman of the Romance Languages Department. For many years at Johns Hopkins University he presented the successful candidates for doctoral degrees, an honor of high significance among scholars. Through decades of intense academic activity Dr. Lancaster continued his meticulous studies of French drama, literature, and history. The most significant of his works was A History of French Dramatic Literature in the 17th Century, in 9 volumes. In 1953 he published his French History in the Time of Louis XIV and the First Years of the Revolution. Shortly before his death he had completed his 26th book.
Lancaster received an honorary degree from the Sorbonne in 1946, two years after the University of Algiers had paid a similar tribute. Among the honors accorded him by the French was the rank of Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. A number of American universities bestowed honorary degrees upon him and sought his services as visiting professor. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the American Philosophical Society, the Modern Language Association, and Editor of Modern Language Notes.
Henry Carrington Lancaster died after a short illness on January 29, 1954.
2.9 Cubic Feet (7 letter size document boxes, 1 legal half-size document box)
Language of Materials
Henry Carrington Lancaster, a scholar and educator in the fields of French literature and history, was born in 1883 in Richmond, Virginia. The collection spans the years 1913-1954 and includes correspondence, a scrapbook, research notes outlining and analyzing the plays of 17th and 18th century French dramatists and the repertoire of the Comedie Francaise, drafts and typescripts, and galley proofs. A large part of the collection is in French.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The papers were acquired in 1955 as a gift from Professor Lancaster's family.
Finding aid prepared by M.C. Beecheno in 1987.
Rachel Gattermeyer revised the biographical note in this finding aid in October 2023 to bring it into compliance with Johns Hopkins guidelines for inclusive and conscientious description (2023). The previous version of the finding aid is available upon request.
- Henry Carrington Lancaster papers
- Language of description
- Script of description
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